The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Drone

When a transporter problem infects The Doctor’s mobile emitter with Borg nanoprobes, a new life-form is born – an advanced Borg drone composed of 29th century technology. Seven tries to instruct the drone in life aboard Voyager, but his curiosity about the Borg Collective may well spell danger for the crew.

A little while ago, we had an episode called One. Now, just to make it difficult to keep things straight in your head, we have an episode about a drone called One, with the highly similar title Drone.

Naming confusion aside, for all that Night was surprisingly better than I remembered, Drone seemed much worse. I want to like it, but it feels barely original. We start with the standard transporter accident trope, leading to the creation of yet another new life form that needs to explore its sense of self and individuality. This all builds up to the Borg showing up to play the degrading role of enemy of the week, before One takes his own life in a closing scene that hardly rivals Lal’s death in The Offspring.

Janeway’s hypocrisy

In past blogs, I’ve tried to reconcile Janeway’s inconsistencies as regards following Starfleet rules. I explored how her need to protect the crew trumps her Starfleet sensibilities, but by this point it’s starting to wear thin. The same Janeway who ordered the death of Tuvix, and who helped the Borg wipe out Species 8472, now decides to adopt a wait-and-see approach with One, because all of a sudden she’s remembered her scruples. She doesn’t even have to order One’s destruction at the end, because he conveniently takes his own life.

Points of Note

  • One from the previous episode – when Tom and B’Elanna are arguing (and when are they not arguing?), Tom implies that B’Elanna is only interested in things that involve Klingon painstiks. Haven’t we already established that B’Elanna dislikes her Klingon heritage and tries to stay away from it where possible? And besides, Tom is the one who likes skiing and other sports – B’Elanna prefers resorts and less strenuous downtime.
  • When scanning One during his development, Harry reports that “From what I can tell, the drone is male”. Does Starfleet have special penis scanners? Does the drone’s sex matter that much? Similarly, in Prey, Harry scans the Hirogen’s ship and reports that there is one male humanoid inside. Again, is it important that the life form is male, and how are they making that determination? And this is without even going into the difference between sex and gender, the existence of trans people, and biological and cultural variations in various alien races.
  • Back in The Gift, it was said that all but one of the regeneration alcoves were to be removed from the cargo bay. Nonetheless, several alcoves are retained for the duration of the series.
  • Seven suggests that Tom and B’Elanna build a more efficient vessel to replace the universally disdained Class-2 shuttles. Indeed, very soon we will see the construction of such a vessel – the Delta Flyer.
  • This episode features a Borg sphere, first seen in Star Trek First Contact.
  • How was One able to possess such a vast range of advanced technology merely from the presence of the mobile emitter? I guess it’s possible that the emitter contains some future version of the transtator, and that the Borg nanoprobes were able to improvise this into enhanced versions of their standard range of armaments. If this is the case, then surely the emitter should be studied very closely in order to help Voyager upgrade its systems! Of course, that in turn could alter the timeline, creating a paradox.

Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 11

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 7

Number of times the entire crew gets enslaved or kicked off the ship: 3

Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 2

Summary – Drone: In which Voyager temporarily doubles its Borg contingent.

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